Once Upon a Time

While Paris, Tuvok and Ensign Wildman are on an away mission, their shuttle runs into an ion storm and suffers severe damage. Voyager tracks their distress call to a nearby planetary system, but another storm is blocking their path. As the crew prepares to go after the Delta Flyer, Neelix is in charge of keeping Ensign Wildman's daughter Naomi occupied and unaware of her mother's predicament. When Paris finally crash-lands the shuttle onto a planetoid, Wildman is seriously hurt.

Buried three kilometers under the rock surface, Wildman is bleeding internally and needs surgery. Back on Voyager, Kim tracks the Delta Flyer's coordinates on the planetoid. There are no lifesigns, but rescue teams are dispatched to the crater in search of the lost crew. Naomi is worried when her mother doesn't call, but Neelix tries to distract her with a holodeck fairytale called "The Adventures of Flotter."

The prospect of telling Naomi that her mother is lost brings back sad memories for Neelix of losing his own family. Although Janeway urges him to be honest with the little girl, he wants to wait until the away teams find the shuttle. When Naomi wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to the bridge in search of Neelix, she overhears talk of the crash and the lost crew.

Neelix finds Naomi in the holodeck with Flotter and Trevis, characters in the interactive fairytale, and tries to comfort her about her mother's situation. He also tells her about losing his own parents and sisters when he was very young. As their life support system begins to fail, Paris, Tuvok and Wildman record goodbye messages to their loved ones. Above them, Chakotay and Seven of Nine locate the shuttle buried underneath the rock. A massive digging effort begins, but an ion storm is approaching, and they don't have much time before it hits.

With two minutes to go until their oxygen is depleted, the Delta Flyer crew hears the rescue team digging above them. Kim is able to get a transporter lock on the shuttle, and it is transported to Voyager just before the storm hits. Once Wildman's injuries are treated in sickbay, she and Naomi are reunited, and mother and daughter pay a visit to the "Forest of Forever" together.

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